Monday, December 21, 2009

Arms Wide Open

Not long ago I attended a workshop on relationships and bonding. At one point the instructor asked us to hug the person next to us. Well, I didn't know the person next to me and immediately I felt a twinge of anxiety. Now, I'm actually a fairly free hugger, at least with family and friends. But, I've grown more cautious on just handing out hugs willy nilly (is that how you spell that particular phrase?) particularly with my profession. However, I cannot solely blame my fear on that; the fact of the matter is I was scared to open myself up to a stranger. Lucky for me the lady next to me apparently had no such reservations. She got right up walked over and gave me a big and warm hug. If she felt any anxiety about it, she certainly did not show it. Right there something subtle changed inside me. Fear left, replaced with love. Yes, I think you can love people you don't even really know. I also realized in that moment, that though I talked about wanting to serve others, I was letting fear dictate too much of my thoughts and actions. I was too worried about my own self protection. I decided than that I needed to live and serve with my arms wide open.

There is a reason that I'm posting this message at Christmas time. I will attempt to make the connection. Per my usual, it might take a bit :)

Not long after my experience at the workshop I recalled another experience that I'd had. Some time ago I was working with a young woman who had faced some rather difficult circumstances in her life. She was a delightful individual to work with, optimistic despite her challenges. In the midst of working with me she was unexpectedly faced with a tremendously difficult decision. It was in fact one of the most difficult choices I've ever encountered as a counselor. Because of confidentiality I will not go into any more detail than to say either choice had some potential heartbreaking consequences. Needless to say she and her challenging decision weighed heavily on my mind for a time. I kept thinking about my responsibility. I of course would not attempt to make the choice for her, but knew I needed to be a support. I made it a matter of prayer. My question was simple "What should I do?" I did not know, and the answer was not forthcoming.

At some point during this time I attended a mid week religious service. While there my client and my question continued to weigh heavily on my mind. However, and I'm not sure how or when it happened specifically, but a couple of things changed within me rather simultaneously. It went from weighing heavily on my mind, to weighing heavily on my heart. And the question changed from "What should I do?" do "What does she need?". The change was subtle yet had a profound impact on me. And not long later while in the silence of a holy place the answer to what she needed came clear as day. She needed to be in the arms of The Savior.

I can hardly express how humbling that answer was for me. How in the world was I supposed to provide that for this young lady? But, I also felt at peace. God knew how. I just needed to be humble and attentive to learning. And I needed to be there for her, no matter what the answer was, offering support, encouragement, compassion and empathy. The Savior would take care of the rest. And that's exactly what He did.

Things turned out fine, as they always do when we put ourselves in His hands and especially when we put ourselves in His arms. We both openly acknowledged feeling at peace with her eventual decision.

I think providing the way for someone to be in The Savior's arms has many aspects. But, as I was reminded of the experience I thought living with arms wide open is one of those ways.

There is no greater example of living with arms wide open than The Savior Himself. In fact think about the symbolism of the cross. Willingly He gave us the greatest gift, His precious and Holy Atonement, and He did so with His arms wide open. He is love, complete, unfettered, and extended to all who will receive.

He is our example. We strive to follow that, humbly recognizing that we fall exceedingly short. But, still we strive. Christmas is all about giving. We honor and celebrate Christ's gift of love to us. And we in turn try to give that love back to Him. He taught that when we do a service to the least of our brethren (and sisters :) we do that service to Him. As we embrace one another, in whatever way we do, in a way we are accepting and giving that embrace to Our Savior and Redeemer. We love, we look for ways to share that love, and we do so regardless of whether or not we feel fear. If you seek to serve you will find a way. I’ve experienced that in my own life, and especially lately as I’ve tried to honor my commitment to live with arms wide open.

I asked one of my kid client's the other day what he was giving for Christmas. He quickly responded "I usually give my parents and my family hugs" Well, I thought that was just perfect. So, embrace your family, your friends, and even a neighbor you hardly know if you feel so inclined. One of life's greatest treasures is the love we share.

My favorite Christmas anthem is "Oh Come All Ye Faithful." I love the message of being in His Holy presence to adore Him. The third verse gets me choked up just about every time "Yea, Lord we greet thee." I long to one day greet Him, to kneel in His presence. The only thing I can imagine that would be better than being in The Savior's presence is being in The Savior's presence with my loved ones. Honestly, I'd love for there to be a crowd. That can happen as we open up to one another and love and let other’s love you back.

Oh come let us adore Him, with grateful hearts and open arms.

Merry Christmas and May God's richest blessings be yours,
Sarah Emily Jordan

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Postette: Mad Libs

Why do I keep putting "Postette" at the beginning of these last several posts? Not because they are little colorful squares with a little sticky on them. It's because they are cute and little.

Anyway, what do you think of the following vid? Understand this is a liberal host of MSNBC going after one of the most liberal Congress members out there.

So, I fully admit to finding some humor in that. But, really I want to say to the Progressive liberals who are really upset about this current healthcare bill, I feel your pain.

Dylan Ratigan is very upset by the fact that the healthcare bill in its current form only seems to help insurance companies. Honestly he has an excellent point. Of course his solution is to create a public option in order to provide "competition." What that would end up doing is to create government control. Now though the government will mandate we all have to buy health insurance, but limits our choices. The government gets to determine which insurance companies have acceptable programs. Yeah! How great will that be?

Guess what the government has proven time and time again, and poignantly in this whole health care debate? That they can be bought. Behold Lincoln, Landrieu, and today's addition Nelson. It's repugnant. Insurance companies are well aware how easily they can buy favors off our corrupt government. Ratigan, I agree with your assessment sir, well some of it. But, you get the picture.

And by the way, Ben Nelson, thank you so much for throwing the pro-life movement under the bus, for your pot of gold. Thanks to you and other pro-life Democrats, of which Harry Reid is one, who did not stand up for that principle, we tax payers who are pro-life will be forced to pay for abortions. It is morally despicable.

So, there you have it Progressive Liberals, I'm upset too. For different reasons maybe, but we can feel each other's pain. You guys are right that competition will be a good solution, just not from the government. The insurance market needs to be free. Competition will breed choice and improvement. Its one of any number of ideas that could actually improve our situation. Oh, and I feel your pain as you watch politicians you thought were on your side do little to nothing about stopping the bill.

But, I'm with you Libs, "Kill the bill!" The thing is ridiculous. It's gross.

Well, that wasn't a postette really (it was kinda medium), but I'm keeping the name, like I said it's cute!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Postette- Separation of Church and State

-Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.- Thomas Jefferson 1802

So, I recently was reading a press release from my Church that stated there was going to be an increased emphasis on seeing to the welfare of the needy in our communities. I thought that was cool! That is such an important role of the Churches. I was shocked though when I read some of the comments following the article that reported the press release. Side-note I really need to stop reading comments, cheese whiz people can be mean to each other. Anyway some were accusing the Church of being socialist, some were saying that Conservatives were going to be mad about this, and such.

Wow! Some people really miss the point about Churches. They are separate from government. Thomas Jefferson made the statement he did in order to protect religion. Freedom of religion is essential to having a moral people. And a moral people will take care of those in need. Its not socialist, its charity in a purer form than government welfare.

And no Conservatives are not angry about taking care of those in need. In fact Conservatives want to give, just not via the government.

I've said it before, "get out of the way government!" Please government separate yourself from the mercy that belongs to the people, and especially the Churches.

Postette- A Climate Debt

One of the more ridiculous ideas that come from the whole climate change scare is the idea that developed countries have to pay some sort of debt to underdeveloped countries by way of our emitting more CO2. Please. It drives me nuts that so many are willing to base economical and political systems on an unconvincing science. Also what is the deal with the climate debt. To me it is rather obvious that the leaders of those countries will continue to do with that money what so many have already done with free money. They will take it for themselves and do little to nothing to actually help their people.

If leaders of underdeveloped countries really wanted to help their people they would seek to establish a political system that resembles what our founding fathers established here.

The United States did not get to be the country that it is because other countries gave us a bunch of money. We became who we are based on protecting the gift that God gave us, not just life, but the power to direct that life. Government's role is to uphold and protect that most basic right.

Of course these days our Government is willing to dictate to us what we have to do. When that begins it ceases to be a protector and starts to become an overseer, which inevitably leads to tyranny.

Why are we going in the opposite direction of freedom in our own country, and why are we considering continuing to propogate tyrannical systems with ideas like a climate debt.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Families for Change - Spokane

The Conservative Independent Rant is pleased to announce the formation of a local group to discuss past and current politics, and the actions we as citizens can take today. It is called -Families for Change Spokane- founded by Tara Mclaughlin and myself Sarah Emily Jordan.

This kind of group has deep historical roots. In fact these roots stretch back to before the American Revolutionary War. Before there was a single shot fired, there were groups of citizens meeting together to discuss their concerns, grievances and possible courses of action. From these groups came the ideas, definitions, motivation and commitment that would set the stage for the foundation of the nation that would become a beacon to all nations for freedom.

It was perhaps with a nod to the importance of these groups that the founders ensured that the right to peaceably assemble would be proclaimed and protected in our Constitution.

We, therefore are exercising that precious right.

There are many who have felt that our nation is not currently on the right track. Any in the Spokane area, who have concerns are invited to attend our meetings. We plan to learn from one another, to discuss concerns and ideas, and to discuss appropriate action.

We look forward to coming together peaceably. This blog will be updated periodically with meeting times and locations.

God Bless

Justice and Mercy Part (I don't know what number I'm on)

Recently here in Washington State we had a very preventable tragedy strike. Four Police Officers were shot and killed in a brutal manner. Like many my heart goes out to the families and the fellow Police Officers affected by this travesty.

A lot of attention has been paid to the fact that the shooter had been granted clemency in Arkansas by the then Governor Mike Huckabee several years previous. While I believe the responsibility for this horrible event rests with the perpetrator, I do think the situation is indicative of a political philosophy, and the damage this kind of thinking can do. What possible philosophy could I be talking about? Well, if you've ever even glanced at this blog you probably already know the answer: Progressivism. Have you heard of it?

Progressivism has infected the general political mindset into thinking that Government is supposed to be compassionate. This infection has affected both sides of the aisle. Governor Huckabee demonstrates the Republican version of Progressivism also known as compassionate conservatism. I have pointed this out before, and will likely continue to do so: The Governments’ job is not mercy and compassion. Their job is justice and law.

Governor Huckabee strikes me as a compassionate person. But, he inappropriately used his Government position to mete out his personal feelings of compassion. Justice dictated that the man in question answer the ends of the law, to serve his time and debt to society.

I personally have experience within the prison system here in Washington. I teach Sunday School (I know you may have been expecting a juicier tidbit). It has been a wonderful opportunity to serve our brothers and sisters who are incarcerated. There are quite a few religious organizations that provide services for them. Prisoners who actively participate in a religious program while incarcerated have significantly lower rates of recidivism. The Washington State Government has started to more closely look at these religious programs to perhaps start similar state programs. Now, on the surface that might seem like a good idea. But, I'll tell you my reaction to it, "BACK OFF!!" The Churches are doing a good job. Perhaps the best thing the Government could do would be to allow the Churches even more access to the prisoners. The Government should not be in the business of being compassionate. They instead should ensure that prisoners pay their debts while also providing for other, appropriate organizations to provide the means for prisoners to receive compassion and mercy.

That's the same way I feel about welfare. The Churches do such a markedly better job than the Government at providing welfare services. People say, well maybe the Government should design their programs to more closely match the Churches. I say "BACK OFF!!" and "GET OUT OF THE WAY!!". The Churches do a better job. Government bureaucracies have become about examining behavior and results. While Churches are about the individual welfare of people. Thus the Government is directed only by what they can observe, and it takes a ridiculously long time to examine. Churches are directed by principles of mercy, compassion and individual redemption. Their work helps people change from the inside out, thus giving the individual the power, not the Government in changing individual situations and society in general.

The Government does not do a good job with mercy. These are just a few examples of that fact. It is unfortunate that we sometimes need tragedies to remind us of that. Please Government get back to your job of justice and law. Let us take back the responsibility for mercy and compassion.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Will Not Yield

Recently an online discussion that I was participating in turned into a discussion about terrorism. What sometimes happens with this subject is people will begin to express outrage at Muslim radicalists. While that may be appropriate, especially given that horrific events have occurred at the hands of Muslim radicalists, unfortunately sometimes people generalize to the Muslim faith and its followers as a whole. I'm not a contentious person by nature (than why is this blog called a rant? you might wonder) but, I recognize the need to stand up for what is right. I wrote what I thought was a carefully crafted reply expressing no desire to step on any one's toes but wanting to make sure people knew that I believed throwing the entire Muslim faith under the bus was unacceptable. It turned out the vast majority of the responses to my response were positive and appreciative. In fact there was only one respondent who seemed to get a little riled by it. The response from this person seemed well meaning (they said "with all due respect":) but their message back to me was "do some research."

I didn't really dwell on it much, but I did wonder what research was I supposed to do. The responder had apparently not thought my having lived in the Middle East was sufficient research. I am aware that the research suggested was likely supposed to be directed at studying radical Islam and their distortions and to study the terrorists’ cells that exist around the world, including in our own country.

Honestly, I am aware of these things. Let me state here unequivocally that I detest, despise and wholeheartedly reject and condemn terrorism in any form, and particularly when it disguises its vileness with religious distortion. Few things would please me more than the rooting out of terrorism in this world. I absolutely know the reality of terrorism. I have etched in my memory places and faces that have been impacted, even destroyed by this evil. My research has included seeing attacks on cities and people that I love. More knowledge would not increase my loathing, I'm already there.

Terrorism thrives off of hate. That is their high priced commodity. The price is high, because it destroys so many. So well practiced at their salesmanship of hate are the terrorists that they are able to convince many to actually commit suicide, taking out as many objects of their hatred as possible. What twisted logic promotes such vile behavior? Hate may be the commodity but power is the goal. There are a few power hungry leaders who know the power of hate and thus enlist it to manipulate for their own agenda. They disguise their power-thirst and hate in a shroud of religion, but it doesn't hide who they really are, maniacs driven by all things evil.

They proselyte hate, and the numbers of their followers is devastating to calculate. I fully support the efforts to rid this planet of this vermin. I hold out hope that there can be some redemption for the followers who have hearts remaining, but too many, it seems, are too far gone.

One way in which they seek to have power over us is in our own emotional responses to their behavior. They try to make us feel terror. They in fact try to inspire hatred in us. If they can make us hate them back than they have engaged us in their twisted view of a holy war and it becomes easier for them to breed more hatred on their own side.

I unequivocally state that on this matter I will not yield. I refuse to bend to their will of hating other people. I refuse to generalize their twisted view into condemning and hating an entire religion.

I have, in that regard, a secret weapon, its called perspective. My life has been blessed with experiences with many of the Muslim faith. And while I don't think those experiences give me special powers or anything; I do think they have shaped my perspective. When I think of Muslims I don't first think of terrorism. I see people. I see shopkeepers earning a living to support their families (and by the way I was terrible at bargaining, so I'm happy to say I helped them out more than I might otherwise have done). I recall conversations laughing at shared experiences and common ground. I recall walking through a Palestinian refugee camp where we were happily greeted. I see the interrupted soccer game when the kids previously playing decided to walk us down the streets of their little city and then invited us into one of their homes.

I remember the cute family that was walking ahead of me down a street in the Palestinian side of Jerusalem. I see the son turn around and smile and remember realizing he was the spitting image of my own brother, though with darker skin and hair. I think maybe that experience sums it up best. When I think of Muslims I see my brother. I see my sister. I see my family. I summarily refuse to feel anything but love and appreciation for my family.

In fact my anger at terrorists is compounded by the anger I feel towards them for what they have done to Islam. They've tainted the faith. It despicable.

I implore others to not give in to the desires of the terrorists. Do not give in to hate. By all means, by every means, we must stand up against terrorism and radical Islam. We must learn who they are, and where they are and what they are doing. But, that does not mean casting out the Muslim faith and all its followers. Do not let yourself become tainted. Love our brothers and sisters, for that is truly who we all are. Peace and love are more powerful and will in the end overcome. Never yield the sacred ground of your heart to the hatred of your fellow man.

God bless

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Babel Anyone? Eh, No Thanks

Genesis 11:3-9 (KJV)

3-And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.
4-And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
5-And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded.
6-And the Lord said, Behold the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
7-Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.
8-So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth; and they left off to build the city.
9-Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Religious nut job strikes again! I was thinking about Babel recently and what the whole incident was all about. First question, they used slime? How appropriate. Our information on this event is limited. But, from what I gather these people were trying to reach heaven through their own man-made scheme rather than the means that God had laid out for them. They wanted a meritless heaven. God seeing the detriment that the people had placed themselves in had to intervene. He blessed them with chaos, and a chance to start all over again.

Babel may have been the original, but over time their idea has caught on repeatedly, to the detriment of the people. And guess what? It is alive and well today. If you have read my blog before you likely already know what I'm going to say. If you haven't here's the heads up. In addition to quoting Scriptures from time to time, I also use quite a bit of my blog space to discuss Progressivism.

One of the things I think is common between the Babel folks and Progressivism is their perspective on humankind. It's actually a pretty finite perspective, because little thought is given to the power God has in our lives. Instead the focus is on what man can do for itself. They see mankind as imperfect (I agree with that) but that with proper guidance we can be made better (yeah, I agree with that too) and that enlightened intellectually superior humans can control and mold the masses into their Utopia vision (I totally agree with... oh wait, what?) That kind of thinking comes from a prideful reliance on man's own wisdom, a wisdom which historically repeatedly is flawed and can lead to well, chaos. Mankind is capable of great things. But, without a humble acknowledgment of not just some human frailty but the absolute necessity for Our Creator, we are left building structures that could fall given the slightest provocation.

Here's the thing, this Babel, Progressive finite perspective looks to change a society through man-made means. But, what really changes things is when we individually humble ourselves and open our hearts, minds and wills to letting Christ change us from the inside out. Blessed with that miracle of redemption, people can then go forward and help others do likewise through service, unconditional love and other Gospel principles.

So, do we let fallible man dictate what change we ought to embark on, or do we heed the instructions of our loving God.

To underscore these different perspectives I'd like to use a pairing that a recent newsmaker (unless of course you only rely on the MSM), and Obama administration official Anita Dunn used. Though where she viewed them as equally admirable I view them as polar opposites, Mao Tse Tung and Mother Teresa.

So, let's start with Mao. It's clear to me that he believed himself to be an enlightened individual capable of making his people into a perfect society. How did he go about this great change? Force, tyranny, mass murder (upwards of 70 million). It's nearly unfathomable the damage this one evil man perpetuated. The world, or his spot on it, was his for the moment and he played it for all he could. The moment was finite, though the damage far reaching.

Mother Teresa, a truly noble and great spirit, viewed things with an eternal and infinite perspective. She knew we have a Creator. She knew He has a plan for us, which includes the possibility for a real Heaven. She humbly submitted herself to a perfect and loving God. She thus allowed herself to be sanctified by Our Lord to be an instrument in His hands in helping His children. Her work brought others to God so they too could taste of His goodness. Again, Christ changes us from the inside out, rather than the tyrannical heavy hand of "enlightened" man which tries to force us. Having God in our life does not mean there will be an absence of trial. Rather, it means that trials can be sanctified for our welfare. They can be instruments of change. It's very humbling and very real.

So, am I comparing Progressives to Mao? I certainly think they have similar perspectives, though some different means. Are Progressives trying to establish a Utopia? Are they trying to build another Babel? Well, yeah I think they are, brick by slimy brick.

What then are some of their building blocks? One of the slimiest pieces of bricks has got to be eugenics. I've written on this topic before. But, it is basically the belief that a perfect society can be bred. Sound familiar? Well, understand that historically that kind of thinking (though more and heinously carried out on other continents) actually had roots in early 20th century American Progressives. Ideas of birth control and even forced sterilization started with people like Margaret Sanger. Wait, her name sounds familiar. Oh yeah she's the one Planned Parenthood is so fond of. Abortion follows along that same thinking. I've outlined before some of the target populations. Needless to say people are dying for the "enlightened" eugenics cause, really little people.

Another brick is the "Great Society" introduced by President Johnson, and his war on poverty. Since his presidency spending on welfare programs have increased by 400%. The poverty rate in the late 1960's? 13%. The poverty rate today? 13%. Thanks LBJ! You cost this country a whole lot of money, now we get to pass on an indecently immoral amount of debt to future generations. And what gets built in return, a whole lot of good people who feel dependent on their government for survival. What a crime, it's like slavery.

There are others. But, I want to move on and look at what we then need to do. Remember God's response to Babel came when the people had finally gone too far. Perhaps we can intervene prior to that. Perhaps we can adopt the perspective of Mother Teresa. We could also adopt the perspective of our Founding Fathers. They did not just think about their own moment in time and their own spot on the planet. They thought of future generations and what form of government would best protect freedom. They thought of you and I. We need to be thinking of future generations also. That may, scratch that, it WILL require sacrifice. Entitlements must be siphoned away. Current laws would need to be challenged. But, first and foremost we need to return to God. We need to walk in His ways. The government too often tries to act like our parent, they are not. In fact it’s more like we are its parents and need to be watching over it. But, God is our Father. We need to follow the guidance He has already laid out for us. He wants so much to bless us. We need to put ourselves in the position to receive those blessings.

Life is not about building our own Utopia, its about letting God build us up to be what He knows each of us can be. As fun as learning another language can be, I say let’s put a stop to this flimsy tower and let God build us up instead.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Post Starring, My Sis!

Lessons from Socialized Halloween Candy by Heather S.

Well our family sure enjoyed trick-or-treating this year. Our oldest daughter scored big on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and our son got more than our dentist would approve of in Hershey bars. My husband and I were left whatever candy was not handed out on Halloween night. I might add a personal note that if neighborhood kids don’t want your econo-purchase goodies, an adult in need of a moment of quiet indulgence might find their kids hard earned wares more tempting then the leftover rejects. I’m hoping I am not the only person who struggles with this particular weakness, because the whole point of this narrative hangs on this one fundamental issue: I wanted a Midnight Milky Way really, really, really bad.

It might not come as a shock to you dear reader, but I redistributed the wealth of candy in our home. Oh yes, I socialized our Halloween candy. After all I did it for my kids own good. All that sugar is really bad for them. Their little growing bodies don’t need all those empty calories. They aren’t as experienced as I am in how to pace yourself through a bag of goodies. And oh, one last thing they don’t even realize I’ve done it.

I enjoyed all the premium goodness for days. After I put them to bed at night I would bring my husband a Reese’s and I would enjoy an Almond Joy. Maybe 30 minutes later we would do it again. I might also add that I’m on the fluffy side so all the argument toward dangers of over sugaring are lost on me. My husband and I got the benefit of a Halloween feast and we didn’t have to knock on one stranger’s door, say any silly phrases, or wear a Wonder Woman costume to get it. All we had to do is realize how short sided it was that we didn’t tax those kiddies for driving them around. (Thank you for the Snickers) Tax them for getting them dressed in their costumes. (Oh, that Kit Kat looks really yummy.) Tax them for making sure that those costumes were reflective and that they crossed the street safely. (I don’t usually eat Starburst, but in a pinch they do the job.) Tax them for caring enough to take their candy away before they make themselves sick. (Smarties? Is that all that’s left?) Tax them till it is all gone and we can start to look forward to Thanksgiving.

I know that this all seem a little malicious, and I wasn’t really that cognizant of the steps leading up to my glut-fest. The point I’m trying to make is that when we combined the resources we had in our little microcosm it benefited not the whole microcosm, but just the ones who controlled the resources. My kids had no way of regaining control of their hard earned resources because they are smaller than me, and weaker than me. Now if a mom who loves her kids more than air would take advantage of her kids, (I really didn’t mean to, but it happens sometime)… What do you think of those very well meaning representative who haven’t gone through 12 hours of labor to birth us, stayed up all night while we cough up a lung, or worked two jobs to get us braces might do if given a similar opportunity to utilize our resources.

Hmmmm. Still hope that you might get some of those Butterfingers?

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Loudest Whisper, The Smallest Cry

From 1976-1983 Argentina was embroiled in what became known as “the Dirty War.” The time was completely chaotic in every way you can think of. The country was ruled by a military dictatorship. Any enemies to that government were in grave danger. Tens of thousands were “disappeared.” That is people were taken and never heard from again. The numbers are hard to nail down, as is the case with most mass covert horror operations. Some of the most powerful instruments in bringing an end to this terrible reign were mothers and grandmothers.

When tyranny and secrecy combine there is a terrible price to be paid by the oppressed. Secrecy breeds whisperings. And such was the case here. The people in Argentina were well aware of what was happening, but because it was done with secrecy and terror the people responded in whispers. No one wanted to be the next to disappear. To stand up against such tyranny required bravery and solidarity. There had to be a way to make the whispers heard. Enter the mothers.

A group of women banded together in a silent protest against the government. They became known as the Mother’s of the Plaza de Mayo. They were mothers whose children had disappeared. Every Thursday they gathered together, wore white head scarves (embroidered with the names of their missing children), and they would walk in a circle in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires. Though silent they provided an echo for the whispering protests of the suffering people. And people began paying attention. The echo grew even louder as the world’s attention turned to Argentina when they hosted the World Cup. The world became aware of what was occurring in Argentina. The loudest whisper came from a silent protest shining a light on a terrible truth.

Another influential group joined in with these mothers, it was the grandmothers of the disappeared. When people with young children were disappeared their children were adopted away, often to those friendly with the government. The Grandmothers heard the cries of the smallest, and responded. They joined in the silent protest. As a result many, but not all, of the grandchildren were eventually returned to their families.

It is an amazing story. I so admire the courage of these women to take a stand in the best way they knew how. Some of them paid an ultimate price by being disappeared themselves. But, because they united and responded to the whisperings throughout the nation, and the cries of the smallest, they were able to make a big difference.

Now, there are many ways that I could relate this account to happenings today, but one way in particular has weighed heavy on my heart and mind. There is a group in our nation who has suffered the same fate of the disappeared. Most are nameless and little record of their very existence remains. They number in the tens of millions; they are the unborn killed as a hallmark to irresponsibility and political agenda.

I cannot for the life of me understand how a society can be so accepting of the practice of the killing of the unborn. It boggles the mind. And as I have said before, I think the time may come that society will look back on sanctioned abortions with the same disgust we look back at slavery now.

Who is being disappeared? Ruth Bader Ginsburg stated “Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.” Again, where was the glaringly obvious follow up question of ‘which populations would those be Justice Ginsburg’? One need only look at the placement of Planned Parenthood facilities to see which populations are being attacked. I encourage anyone reading this to get your hands on a copy of “Maafa 21” to see a well documented case laid out for the African American population being targeted. Also, lower income populations are targeted. And one of the most decimated groups is the special needs children in the womb.

The whispers that the proponents of abortion, including and maybe especially in the government, would like to silence include a very important group to me, the women who have abortions. I am pro-life not just for the life of the unborn, but also for the life of the mother. As a counselor I have had the opportunity to counsel with women who have had abortions and who are devastated by the emotional effect. Does abortion hurt women? The answer is yes, and not just physically. They know that their child’s life was ended, and emotionally that is painful. Questions persist in their minds about whether or not they made the right decision. I’ve heard the rationalizations, but regret and sorrow always peek through. It is not a pain that gets discussed in wide circles. The media certainly does not address it. It’s a whisper that women will admit to only in limited circumstances. But, I’m taking the opportunity here to echo it louder. It’s devastating for these mothers of the disappeared.

And what then of the smallest cry? Do we heed the voice of these the smallest among us? I think of a day not all that long ago that I received a message on my phone from my sister. She was pregnant with her first. Her voice was choked with emotion as she quickly explained that there was something wrong with her baby and that she would be speaking to her doctor soon. I freely confess that tears filled my eyes, both for hearing the pain in my sisters’ voice, and for the fear I had for the life of her child. It turned out fine, he is alive and well and causing all sorts of fun mischief these days. But, I remain struck by the experience. When we acknowledge the truth that their lives a little being inside of their mothers, we feel their sufferings and do whatever is in our power to help them. No amount of name-changing (a fetus is still human), will change the fact that they are alive and that abortion ends a life. Their rights to life cry out for us to hear.

I take my stand for the rights of the smallest, and I hear the whisperings of the women who suffer. May this nation heed the cry and may we magnify the whispers so that we can heal from the devastating effects of this abomination. And may those who have been disappeared not be forgotten.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Prayers and Thoughts

I'm sure that those impacted by the atrocity today at Ft. Hood are in the prayers of so many Americans today. They are certainly in mine. Expressing condolences seems to fall way short. But, we do what we can, we pray for God's arms to be around those who suffer. I have a deep respect for our military heroes, and so appreciate their willingness to sacrifice to protect our freedoms. It breaks my heart that so many lost their lives and were harmed on American soil. God bless the injured, and the loved ones of the injured and especially those who were lost.

I must also express another sadness that has accompanied today's events. The individual, allegedly responsible for this atrocity, is a Muslim. Right now we do not have the full story, and so speculation is just that. I have personally witnessed the devastation that terrorism spawned by radical Islam can and has caused, and I despise it for a variety of reasons. I despise that lives have been lost in such senseless ways. I despise the fact that so many are forced to live in fear. I also despise that these monsters use the Palestinians cause, and the Muslim religion as cover to commit such heinousness.

But, I feel sadness for the knee jerk response that I've read in some comments on internet updates. I have seen the affects of terrorism. But, it has also been my honor and great blessing to know and spend time with many Muslims. I have known too many amazingly gracious, kind and good Muslims to ever condemn their entire religion. Islam is as varied as Christianity in beliefs and application. To hear ill and desires for condemnation and discrimination of an entire religion because of the acts of a radical violent minority breaks my heart. Such thinking has led to some pretty shameful things even in this country, such as internment camps.

Let us mourn this tragedy appropriately, again praying for those impacted. We certainly condemn such atrocity and its perpetrator. Let us also make sure to not let our hearts be darkened by anger and vengeful thoughts but to find hope and healing in God and in understanding in one another.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Taking A Stand

I've been pondering on the meaning of taking a stand. How does one do that? What does it look like to other people? What is required? I share with you a couple of brief thoughts on the matter, and would as always love other's comments and such.

Firstly I think that in order to take a stand you need to be armed with the essential tool of truth. I'm not one who thinks that truth is relative. I think truth is truth. There are a couple of ways that I want to discuss of taking a stand with truth. One of these is we must know what is true about ourselves. One of the areas I often work with clients is in identifying core beliefs. They usually boil down to 3 areas 1) I'm Intelligent 2)I'm Loveable 3)I'm Good Enough. I know it sounds like Stuart Smalley, by the way how in the world did that guy end up in the Senate? But, anyway those are healthy core beliefs. Often, I'd say far too often people develop a false core belief, of thinking the opposite of those areas is true. These beliefs form fairly young and can be affected by a traumatic event. These core beliefs act as filters, and we start experiencing things as evidence that what we believe about ourselves is true. The more evidence we have (based in reality or otherwise) the more entrenched the belief. Negative core beliefs can be changed, granted it takes effort. My point in bringing this up is that taking a stand is exceedingly easier when you believe what is true about you. Each one of us is intelligent, loveable and good enough just by virtue of the fact that we are children of God. Can you imagine the power if individuals stood up in this nation armed just with this truth alone? Courage and boldness would abound.

The other point on truth I would like to make is that it is imperative that we seek out knowledge about history and current events, and future possibilities. I recommend not relying too much on the Mainstream Media (big surprise :) As I learned in my history studies seek out primary sources when available. Find trustworthy places to go and even question those sources. A secure knowledge base makes for firm ground to stand on.

Also know why you believe what you believe. Belief can be confirmed and become knowledge through proper channels. Spiritual matters are confirmed spiritually, physical ones physically, and so on.

Secondly, in taking a stand it is important to do so with boldness, conviction and never minding what the consequences might be. People who stand for what is right are often subject to ridicule by others. We've certainly seen examples of that lately. Regardless of the surface reasons for ridicule and persecution at its core it is done out of fear masked by anger or self-importance. We have to be willing to face it, if not for our own selves at least for the benefit of the next generation. As Albus Dumbledore says in Goblet of Fire we are choosing between what is right and what is easy.

With this in mind I make a particular request to those who are struggling with apathy and/or indifference with our current situations. God knows you. As He told the Prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5), 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you'. He did not send you here at this time because He knew you were a fence sitter. I ask you to cast off any shackles of apathy and indifference and to be who you truly are, who God knew and knows you to be. Refer back to my previous point of knowing the truth about yourself and than stand up with that knowledge. I'm not asking you to join me in marching, unless you're in the area:) Rather, I ask you to stand in whichever way suits you best. Be who you are.

Thirdly, and this is about how standing up should look to others, stand with open arms. Seek to be filled with the never failing virtue of charity. That term has been altered over the years, but its definition is unconditional love and kindness, positive regard, in short it is the love that Christ has for us. We demonstrate this with open arms. We love others even as we are despised and ridiculed and attacked.

We do this in part for the welfare of our own souls, to not be filled with hate or anger which only serves to darken the best parts of you. We also do this so that others may know there is a safe haven for when they come to a knowledge of truth themselves. Welcome with open arms all who long for morality, freedom and redemption in their lives. Each of us knows that feeling of redemption, because we have all needed it in our lives. We thus should be more than willing, we should be grateful, to offer hope and safety for others. We ought to follow the example of Dr. King. Let peace be our armor and let it be a motive. Peace is power far greater than force in helping change hearts.

Lastly (at least for this post) take a stand by following the example of General George Washington

Sometimes the most important way of taking a stand is falling to your knees, in prayer. There is remarkable symbolism in this act. Symbolism is a physical representation of a spiritual reality. The reality here is humility. Interestingly enough humility is strengthening, because you are turning to our all powerful Creator. Pride on the other hand, in all its forms from elitism to mockery to anger to tyranny etc., leaves men and women alone to their own weak selves.

We need God as much as ever, if not more so now. He so wishes to bless us, but those blessing are contingent upon our putting ourselves in the position to receive those blessings. In God we trust so to God we turn.

Take a stand be true to who you truly know you are, be true to truth, trusting in God with charity to all.

God bless in our righteous endeavors.


Alright, I know that I've expressed some dismay at the Disney Channel for their whole "Friends for Change" deal. By the way congrats to the amazing Tinker Bell for being named an honorary ambassador of green, check it out! Anyway I confess I still watch the DC, it makes me laugh, and I fast forward through all the ridiculousness. The latest episode of Hannah Montana had a wonderfully hilarious line that as soon as I saw it, I knew I had to somehow relate it to something on my blog. So, maybe it's a stretch, but it at least should give some a chortle.

The point dear friends is this, never ever assume that what's in the bag is something great just because it comes from a friendly face. Or how about this: Do not assume that our politicians are handing us some nutritious treat in the paper bag. The reality is they are abbreviating the contents of massive bills trying to make them sound all yummy, when the reality is they could and frankly probably do contain all sorts of nasty. What we think might be a Blueberry Muffin from a friend very well could be a stinking pile of well dog mess handed to us by a charlatan masquerading as a friend. We must demand to know the truth. What is in the bag?!

My apologies to Thomas Paine for including some of his noble words in this slightly silly post but here goes anyway, "Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."

So, there you have it, the muffin or the other kind of bm is just begging to be revealed, and our only job is to demand that it be so. I repeat what is in the bag?! No more fear of thinking, and questioning, the government is supposed to fear the people. So, we ask them to fulfill their promises of transparency. Knowledge and truth are key components of freedom. That is what we ask.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Our Moral Obligation? Look Up

Do other people argue with the television and/or radio? Please tell me I’m not the only one. I was driving to work the other day having one of these arguments with the radio, the discussion was getting a little heated. Then all the sudden this bird lands a little ahead of my car and just started strolling down the road instead of flying away. Mid-argument I yelled out “get out of the way bird!” It immediately brought me back to reality and I busted up laughing at myself. Here I am yelling at this bird who won’t take any personal responsibility for its own life and health. I said a quick prayer to bless all animals as my penance. I also realized I need more of a social life (555…).

So, why am I telling this story? Well, there is something cathartic about writing it out. It doesn’t mean I’m not losing my mind, but acknowledging the fact somehow makes it feel better. But, really it was to discuss the reason I was yelling at the radio in the first place. I’m sick and tired of hearing that we have to pass health care reform because it is our moral responsibility or obligation or however people put it in order to guilt us into passing a trillion dollar deficit adding no problem solving piece of pork laden health care bill.

Moral obligation? Could anybody give me any good reason why we should listen to the government on any matters of moral obligation? You know what is immoral? Passing on trillions of dollars of debt onto the next generation, excuse me I mean the next generations (plural). It’s bad enough that millions than billions were passed on to my generation, but to just keep piling it on is completely immoral. So, yeah let’s add a trillion dollars onto that so we can have a public option that is going to be as awesome as the post office.

This kind of self-important faulty argument comes from the Progressive “enlightened” elite. And I don’t know if you get this from me, but I’m pretty fed up with Progressive enlightenment.

If people really want to preach morality they should be asking us to refer back to our founding fathers. They knew that in order for the nation to remain free they would have to be a moral people. Thus, one of the most important freedoms that was protected in the bill of rights is religious freedom. The answer for us to be moral is for this nation of individuals to individually turn back to God, to look up. I know I know that answer is just too easy, it can’t be enlightened because it isn’t new. Oh and we have to make sure we don’t offend somebody by referring to the God we proclaim to trust, the horror!

I think part of the problem with the Progressive mindset is that they must find the answer for all the worlds’ problems within their own amazing intellect. The idea of accepting God’s instructions on the matter is just mind boggling.

It reminds me of the story of Moses when the people were bitten by these poisonous snakes. The Lord instructed Moses to put a brass serpent on a staff and if the people would simply look up to the staff they would be healed. How, many people did not look up, because it was too easy? Surely, there had to be a more complicated answer to such a dire problem. There wasn’t, the answer was simply look up. And so it is today. If we want to be moral, God needs to be the center.

Elder Todd D. Christofferson in a recent address talked about the subject of moral discipline he stated:

-- By “moral discipline,” I mean self-discipline based on moral standards. Moral discipline is the consistent exercise of agency to choose the right because it is right, even when it is hard. It rejects the self-absorbed life in favor of developing character worthy of respect and true greatness through Christlike service (see Mark 10:42–45). The root of the word discipline is shared by the word disciple, suggesting to the mind the fact that conformity to the example and teachings of Jesus Christ is the ideal discipline that, coupled with His grace, forms a virtuous and morally excellent person.
Jesus’s own moral discipline was rooted in His discipleship to the Father. To His disciples He explained, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). By this same pattern, our moral discipline is rooted in loyalty and devotion to the Father and the Son. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ that provides the moral certainty upon which moral discipline rests.
The societies in which many of us live have for more than a generation failed to foster moral discipline. They have taught that truth is relative and that everyone decides for himself or herself what is right. Concepts such as sin and wrong have been condemned as “value judgments.” As the Lord describes it, “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god” (D&C 1:16).
As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. –

This is what has happened in our country. We are now relying on the government to set the moral standard, instead of taking responsibility for ourselves. Remember that the government is setting a very very bad example of morality (debt ridden and passing it on). Why in the world are we relying on them? The answer is quite simply to look up. The answer is easy, although the application may be difficult. It may mean ending reliance on entitlements. But, I submit that any sacrifice we make now will be worth it, if our children can be more free.

Can you imagine how awesome it would be for a politician to just flat out say, ‘stop looking to the government for answers, look to God’ I know I know separation of Church and state. To that I say, EXACTLY, now get out of the way government. Separate yourselves from telling us our moral obligation. That’s God’s job.

On another note I have to ask why in the world, if the government was going to now start dictating moral obligation would they start with health care. I mean how about if they started with something that would have even more impact like outlawing adultery or something? Why? Because it’s ridiculous. It’s not the governments business; neither is making sure our nation is moral by creating a more socialized healthcare system. But, maybe they could pass some bill outlawing birds from strolling in front of cars, it’s not good for their health, and they really don’t deserve to get yelled at.

I think it is imperative that this country turn back to God. We need to stand up for what is right. Sometimes the most effective way of standing up is falling to our knees. He is there, He so wants to help. We ought to trust in Him. A good life is not one that is absent of trial and pain. A good life is one in which we grow and learn and become truly Disciples of Christ, of His cause, of all that is good and holy and moral. So, look up, stand up, be moral and take your personal power and responsibility back. That is dare I say our moral obligation.
God Bless.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Modus Operandi Progresista (MOP)

Forgive me if this rant seems well, like a rant. I've been trying to formulate my thoughts on this for a while, and decided I just need to sit down and write it out and be satisfied with whatever spills forth from my keyboard.

I've described myself before as a Conservative Independent with some Libertarian leanings a healthy respect for Classical Liberalism and significantly less respect for Progressivism. That is an incredibly long title, and I already have some complaints about the length of my blogspot address. But, I wanted to address a couple parts of that description. Why do I have a healthy respect for Classical Liberalism? Well, quite frankly on some past issues I'm quite certain I would have been considered a Liberal. Take slavery for instance, or the whole civil rights movement. I confess that had I lived at the time I have a sneaking suspicion I might have supported Robert F. Kennedy for president. And I will now resist the urge to hit backspace repeatedly. See I believe that Liberalism is an important element in maintaining maximum freedom.

Now the Progressive part. What little respect I have for Progressivism is in the fact that in this country everyone has the right to their own opinion and the peaceful expression of that opinion. Not very long ago I grudgingly gave my respect to Progressives for one issue in particular, Women's Suffrage. My mind has now been set at ease in that particular regard. Why? Because one day not too long ago a light bulb went off just above my head. Which I have to say has its positives and negatives. For positives it gives me a new understanding, for negatives it sure makes my white hairs more visible. But, I digress.

Women's suffrage is not a Progressive ideal, it is in fact a Classical Liberalism ideal. But, Progressives stole it. Why? Because they wanted to use it for their own ends. Wait for it...Wait for it...Wai...Just kidding, the magic word is Prohibition. Progressives believed that they could use women to further their own agenda of controlling the population by outlawing alcohol. Now, I'm not a huge fan of alcohol, in fact I think it sucks, but taking away a freedom is not usually a good idea. It often backfires, as it did with Prohibition, here an amendment there and amendment and we are back to where we started, people getting drunk, but less crime:) The Progressives didn't let Prohibitions prohibition get them down though. In fact this became their M.O. Steal a Liberal idea, inculcate it into your own dream agenda (Hooray for the Garden of Eden, see a previous post), then use it to gain more control. Jerks, there I said it.

Women would have gotten the right to vote without Progressives, in fact states were quickly recognizing that right and it was only a matter of time before the federal government wised up to it. But, Progressives take credit for it, jerks (okay that one was gratuitous). The lefty Progressives wanted women, and have been working to keep them ever since. Hello, how in the world did Abortion = Women's rights, thank-you Progressives, and your Eugenics awesomeness. Make no mistake abortion has deep ties with eugenics.

Thus, we see this M.O. not just with women's rights, but also in other areas. Look at Civil Rights. This movement is one that I have long been fascinated by. Freedom was starting to ring for a long oppressed people, and then Progressives came and stole it, with their "Great Society." Welfare in the United States has become a soft tyranny and far too many Black Americans are trapped in it. Oh and back to the eugenics thing, please please watch the film "Maafa 21." That film is stunning in how obvious they make the eugenic tie of abortion with the blatant racism of so many of the Progressive leaders. It’s disgusting and immoral, and yet effective.

What about environmentalist? People believe we have an obligation to be good stewards of the planet. I'm one of them. But, Progressives have come along and whipped the movement into a frenzy. Is it because they honestly believe that the earth has to be saved from climate change (which by the way has been occurring since long before humans walked the earth)? Maybe some do, but at its heart it’s about control. Environmentalists have allowed themselves to be bought by a larger agenda of more government control.

So, there it is the Modus Operandi Progresista. See a Classical Liberal agenda, steal it and make it your own. Turn it into more government control. Convince people it’s for their own good, (thank heaven for those few enlightened brilliant leaders who can walk us back into Eden), and away we go. What a mess. Someone needs to mop up this M.O.P.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


A little over a week ago, my mother, sisters, and I participated in a women's fitness celebration in Boise Idaho. It boasts itself as the largest women's 5k run/walk in the nation. And yep there were a lot of women there, tens of thousands. It was a ton of fun and inspiring. My older sister made a comment that really has stuck with me about how powerful women really are, and if they only knew that, how much of a change we could make. Well, I second that notion and would like to discuss a few things.

First off sisterhood. Do we really have any idea how magnificent a calling it is to be a sister. Years ago I heard a story about sisters that really touched me and I think it goes to the heart of what sisterhood is really all about. In Oct. 1995 twin girls Kyrie and Brielle Jackson were born 12 weeks prematurely. Both required significant medical care. However, Kyrie was the healthier of the 2 and responded well to treatment. Her sister Brielle was smaller and had some heart and lung problems. Her condition began to deteriorate, as her heart rate soared and she began gasping for breath. The nurse working with the family tried several things to bring Brielle's breathing and heart under control, but nothing seemed to be working. She decided to try an unusual technique. She actually placed Kyrie in the incubator with her sister. The picture shows what happened.

Kyrie put her arm around her sister. Brielle began to calm and eventually her heart and breathing rates normalized. Both girls thrived.

This is the great key of the power of sisters. We have one another. We are a veritable army. The best use of those arms is around each other in support and caring, united in the causes we know to be correct.

Now, about those mothers. I'm not one, (though I'd like to be someday, first I have to be a wife so if there are any handsome 30 something upstanding single guys out there, my number is 555-)but I know a lot moms. Is there a more powerful force out there for good than mothers? Well, besides God. . .? Here's the thing, mothers are powerful! I refer back to a recent previous post on power. You may recall (and if you don't go back and check it out, there was a great He-Man video) that one of the subjects I talked about was sacrifice. Mothers sacrifice from the get go (I'm talking puberty on up, sorry to any squeamish fellows :)They carry their child with them for 9 months straight, and that is just the beginning. A mother's role is sacred, sacrificing and powerful beyond belief. It's no wonder that the adversary (you remember him right, the loser jerk dweeb) is working overtime to try to convince mother's that they are weak and insignificant. The guy lies, and this is one of his biggest. Mother's because you sacrifice so much you hold within a power to influence for good.

Remember some important points. It is absolutely essential that you are imperfect. That's because your children will be imperfect and they have to know that they are still a good person and can overcome. Please don't beat yourself up for not being perfect. You are the example your kids need. Trust that truth. Remember that especially in the first years of life your children are learning tons and tons of things. The thing they learn the most about is relationship. As you spend time with them, holding them, laughing with them, crying with them, dancing with them, whatever, they will learn that they are good enough, smart enough and loveable enough for you, and that will be key to building their self-esteem. Moms are a force to be reckoned with. You are the builders. The foundation of society is the family. Moms hold the whole structure up. Don’t let anyone ever lead you to believe that you are anything less than central to our society and our nation’s success.

If you see things going wrong, take a stand, say it out loud. I guarantee you are not the only one. More and more moms these days are finding their voice and finding others who feel the same. You are in the trenches of the fight for good. Take courage God is always with the mothers who seek His help. Trust Him, and believe Him when He tells you how amazing you are.

I need to make sure I mention some people in particular. I have been blessed to have friends who are like family, and family who I consider friends. First off I'm grateful for the friends I have in my life. I have marvelous examples of strong and faithful women as friends, and I have learned much, thank-you. I am one of the truly blessed people when it comes to my family; the siblings have all married incredibly well. To my sisters in law, I consider you sisters in fact. You 3 are miracle workers. I regard my brothers highly, but you miraculously made them even better men than they already were. Thanks for being who you are. To my dear sisters. How could I ever truly begin to say what I feel for you? The love of my sisters has quite literally been a life saver. We laugh we cry, we put our arms around each other. From the deepest part of my heart, thank-you. And of course to my own mother. Talk about sacrifice. You have put up with me for one thing. You have held me from infant on up, comforting me in need, giving me light in my darkest moments, and giving me gifts of joy. Words fail. Thank-you.

So, dear women out there, stand up. Let the power loose. Throw open those arms. There is so much good in the world, and your role is key, and don’t you forget it. God bless.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fasting for the Republic

I took up the challenge from Glenn Beck yesterday and fasted and prayed for the Republic. My experience with it was in a word, peace. Things are going to be better than okay, they are going to be amazing.

That does not mean that we sit back and watch things happen. Rather it means we do our part. The greatest source of power in this nation is the God in whom we trust. He has gracefully granted us access to that power by means of our faith. I've long thought that one of the best definitions of faith is putting yourself in the position to receive the blessings God so wants to give.

We put ourselves in position by praying for our own souls, for our families and loved ones, and for our enemies. We stand in holy places, firm and resolute, perhaps the holiest place is within our own homes. We face trials with an assurance that though they be difficult God will sanctify them for our benefit and the welfare of others. We support each other, even and maybe especially when we don't agree on everything, for we agree on the most important things. This country needs to be heading in a better, more correct direction. We stand up with courage even if we do feel frightened. We love and we serve.

As we do our part we will see miracles. We will see the faithful walk into lion's dens and survive. We will see the seemingly small and weak defeat giants. We will see impossible paths open while enemies are halted. We will see blind eyes opened, deaf ears hearing, and maybe just maybe some changed hearts.

We humbly ask for God to bless America. First and foremost though we acknowledge that He already has, that He does, and will continue to do so as we trust in Him.

It's a glorious time, come what may and love it. Know with assurity that we are not just in God's hands, we are in His arms. And knowing that how could the answer be anything but peace.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Arlington National Cemetery was a somber and soul touching place. I love and honor those who have served this country and protected our freedoms. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a site I have long wanted to visit and was grateful for the opportunity.
We happened to arrive just as the changing of the guard was about to start. I apologize for not being in a better position for filming it.
What touched me most was the realization that our beloved unknown soldiers are not left alone. They are honorably watched over by their fellow soldiers. I also found it touching that the unknown soldiers have been giving a multitude of awards and medals for valor and honor.
To all of our dear soldiers and to their families and other loved ones, thank-you from the deepest part of my heart.

The Wall

Growing up whenever I thought about going to Washington D.C. there was one place that I knew I had to visit, the Vietnam Memorial. I love my country dearly and our warriors have always had a special place in my heart. Alot of the credit for that love of country and soldiers goes to my father. He served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam conflict.
I'm glad my friends put up with me wanting to go there several times. The first visit was after darkness had fallen, which was good so that my tears were just between me, God and those precious souls who gave their lives for freedom, yours and mine.
The Memorial is simple and beautiful. I love how reflective it is. They gave their lives for us and by having our reflections accompany their names its as if we are able to know each other. We sanctify their sacrifice by not only remembering them, but cherishing and upholding the freedom they died for.
I thought about putting the video to music, but like the D.C. video just felt like it was best to leave as is.
I've written in a previous post about the importance of monuments and especially about the chance we get to touch them. It is especially important for the veterans to be able to touch it, so that their memories and feelings are validated. It was my great honor to be at that sacred sight, it was a dream come true. Dad, I touched The Wall for you.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The March: Unedited

Well, here it is. I was going to try to do some fancy edits or something, add a little music, put in some amazing graphics. But, than I thought you know what I'm just going to leave the footage as is raw and with my amazing camera work. By, the way I'm sorry for the camera work:)

A few points. The march started out on Freedom Plaza. We were supposed to gather there from 9:00 am to 11:30 or so. The first scenes are coming up onto Freedom Plaza and having no idea where the thing began. The crowd was immense. In fact it was so large that the march started at like 10:00 because there just wasn't room on the plaza. The march itself was the funnest part. It was just great to around so many people who love their country. I think one of the funnest things was passing a building that had the First Amendment written on the front of it. Every group that passed in front of it gave a huge cheer. When the next group of people came upon it they realized what everyone else was cheering about and would let off a cheer of their own. We gathered on the lawn of the Capitol building. We initially were in the back of the stage for the speakers. We tried to get around to the front but just could not do it. It was impossible to get any sense from a video camera the immensity of the crowd. It was magnificent. I love this country. I love that we have the right to assemble and to freely speak. I want to say a special thanks to my dear friends Ranae and Emily who were with me. What an opportunity to stand up with loved ones. I look forward to continuing to stand up for principles of freedom and this blessed nation and to doing so with loved ones again.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Restoring Our Relationship With God

Just to let you know, I am working on posting video of the September 12th march on Washington. It was an amazing experience and I’m grateful I got to be there. I also have some video of other more tourist type experiences that I will be posting. It’s just taking me a while to get the videos all uploaded and stuff.

On my plane trip to D.C. via Salt Lake I was thinking wistfully about the previous weekend when I flew into Boise to spend some time with my family. When I got off the plane my mom, sister and one of my little nephews were there to greet me. When my nephew saw me he gave a happy scream and ran to me. I scooped him up in my arms and gave him a kiss and hug. I love reunions with my loved ones. The reunions with my nieces and nephews are particularly heartwarming for me. My relationship with them is one of my most cherished. I’ve tried to make sure that they feel safe and loved with me.

That experience of greeting them with open arms and having them run to me is one I have thankfully had several times over. Scooping them up in a loving embrace is such a simple and yet profound moment. I love them. We feel safe together and an increase in happiness. It’s amazing how sweet reunions can cast away any previous negative experiences in a healing way, for me and for them.

Connection is such an important part of humanity. The most vital connection we all have is with God, Our Creator and Father. And yet those ties seem to become increasingly strained in our nation, not because of Him, it’s because of us.

Why is it that we avoid the things that will help us most sometimes? Indeed sometimes it seems like we run from that which is the greatest source of security and peace. Is it because we fear weakness and vulnerability? Perhaps. It is a human desire to be in control and personally strong. Maybe what we fear is that our potential is unlimited, as Nelson Mandela once stated “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Knowing we are powerful means that we would have a responsibility. Regardless I invite this nation to examine its relationship with God.

Let us understand that as we learn we are weak we can be humble. This allows us to have open and soft hearts, a condition God can work more easily with. Than in partnership with Him, empowered through His grace, we don’t have to fear responsibility of our potential for we have a perfecly loving, strong ally. If we really want to be strong and to make the most of our own potential, we need Him.

God loves us. He is Our Father. The love we have for the children in our lives gives us a hint to how He feels about us, though immeasurably more. We ought to run to Him. For surely He waits with open arms to scoop us up in safety, love and healing.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Restoring Remembrance

One of the most important words in the English language is remember. Our experiences and the memories we have of them help shape who we are.

I remember a morning 8 years ago that changed my life, and the lives of millions. I woke up to the murmur of the television in the living room above me. I began to go about my morning but shortly heard a knock on the door. My mother with alarm told me that 2 planes had flown into the towers of the World Trade Center. I immediately got up and viewed with other family members the scenes that would be burned into my memory.

I remember watching that first tower leaning and out loud begging “stay up stay up stay up” It broke my heart when it fell. I remember watching the second fall. I remember hearing about the attack on the Pentagon. I remember hearing that another plane had crashed. It all seemed unreal and I was too shocked for any emotional response.

I remember when it finally hit me and I held my head in my hands and sobbed. My family gathered close to one another.

I remember when statements such as “if you ever lived in New York or New Jersey you knew somebody” hit me like a ton of bricks. I had served my mission there. I spent a lot of time meeting people and no matter what the response, I would end the meeting by saying “God bless.” I remember realizing how much I meant it. I remember wishing I could go back and embrace my beloveds there.

I remember realizing that before I left on my mission I had spent a semester in Israel, and how difficult it was to see people and their land that I loved damaged so much by terrorism. I remember how shocking and devastating it was to know that they had now attacked my home.

I remember reading articles about the park and rides in New Jersey and other surrounding states where cars were abandoned because their owners did not return home. One article spoke of East Brunswick specifically it was the second and last area that I had served in. I sobbed some more.

I remember reading all the names worried I did indeed no somebody.

I remember crying with my nation over the lost and suffering. I remember hearing the solidarity that other nations expressed to us.

I remember seeing our neighborhoods filled with flags as we unified in love of country, in love of peace and in love of one another.

I remember praying to feel peace, and mercifully being granted that.

We must never forget.

To Our Nation

I’m leaving on a jet plane for Washington D.C. tomorrow morning. I’m way excited to stand with fellow Americans on the 12th. We all want our voices to be heard. If I had the opportunity to speak to my government and especially my fellow Americans I think it would go a little something like this. (some of this will sound familiar :)

I believe in the greatness of this nation. We are a nation who trusts in God. We are a nation of freedom. We are a nation whose greatness is manifest in the lives of its citizens. A Constitution was established by our Founding Fathers. The greatness of that Constitution is that the laws that were established allow the inhabitants of this land to become their greatest selves.

This nation was established with principles of freedom. One of those principles is justice. We are a Republic, meaning we are ruled by law. Those laws should uphold our divinely bestowed rights and our precious freedoms. The law as Aristotle once stated, is reason free from passion. I believe that includes compassion. Justice does not mean everyone gets everything they want. It means our freedoms to work for them ourselves is assured.

I understand and so did our founders that there would be many who would struggle through life destitute, alone, injured and needy. But, they trusted that principles of freedom would ensure the best possible chance for the people in whatever station. Principles such as a free market, the genius of which would eventually lead to the wealthiest nation in the world. Principles of limited government, allowing individuals the opportunity to prosper and develop and personally progress. The Constitution is itself a protector of freedom. Within its very structures they placed an ability to amend in order to best protect freedom.

Our founders trusted that a free nation would best engender a moral people. This is one of the reasons why freedom of religion is so important. A moral people would be a merciful people, they would serve others without being compelled by their government. Mercy belongs to the people. We are meant to be compassionate to one another.

Why do so many Americans fear that their freedoms are under attack? It’s because they are. That limited government has been ever increasing and ever encroaching. We hear it is for our own good and yet continue to see a deterioration of personal freedom and compassion. The free market system, which of design has ups and downs has not been left free to correct itself. Government interference has weakened our economy. We have descended from wealthiest nation to most deeply in debt. We owe money to other countries. We owe money to our seniors who believed their investments in such things as social security and medicare would be secure. We owe money to our children and their children.

We've been told that our Constitution is a living document rather than a sturdy edifice. We've been told that to progress we must change our laws not merely by its prescribed measures, within its structures, but rather that the structures themselves be altered or even abolished.

And our job, mercy, compassion is being stolen by a government again trying to convince us they know what is best. They will take care of us so we don't have to worry about our neighbor. They wish us not to struggle, yet that is how we grow.

I say to Americans now it is time for us to take back mercy. This nation is great because its people are great. The hearts of Americans beat in a unified compassion for our fellow man.

Government I speak to you now as a single entity. Let us take care of the poor, and downtrodden. We know better than you, our government, which has every need handed to them by us. Let us love our neighbors including those on our Southern border. I ask you to do your job, of upholding the law, of being just. If you do that than there will be a decrease in malice and the citizens can better serve each other and our beautiful neighbors occupied by beautiful souls who want the same as every American, to live free. Government cannot do that for government is bound by the will of the people. But, the people know freedom, let us freely give and teach principles of freedom that others may find it for themselves in their own land or here if they wish to properly come.

I feel compelled to speak of one of the greatest examples of mercy in our nation. I speak of our soldiers, men and women who love mercy more than life. They do what you, our government, seem unwilling to do, they sacrifice, and they serve without regard for themselves. Let us, the people, embrace the families of the lost. For we know loss. For the heroes who return home, who had been willing to die for us, let us ask them now to live. Let us fill them with hope. Hope not in the government but hope that with the freedom they have guaranteed they and us can continue to make the world a better, safer, freer place. We owe that to them, to give hope in place of despair and purpose in living.

Government unleash the mightiest power in the land, the people and their compassion. You do that by only doing your job, by limiting yourself so our potential to progress individually becomes unlimited. Do you want the world to be a better place? Than let us make it so. Your attempts at force will only breed apathy on one hand and resentment on the other. I say to you now with all the conviction of a freedom loving soul, release us! Our nation will be better for it. Release us, with our God given rights and God given attributes. We the people are the best stewards of one another.

To you now my fellow Americans we say in God we trust. Let us act upon that trust knowing we will be supported and sustained. God will uphold those who call upon His name and I ask the leaders, the citizens, the soldiers, all freedom loving people to do so now in this our hour of decision.

Do we choose security or freedom? Do we choose debt over our children's future? Will you plead for the right to be merciful or let government continue to hijack that role?
Do we trust in government or do we trust in God?
Rise up for a peaceful victory America. Restore your principles of freedom, that serenity, prosperity and compassion can endure now and in generations to come. It is our sacred duty. I pledge my allegiance to this nation, its people and its divine purpose.

God bless America and Americans.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Restoring Power

I think the following video represents what the government thinks of itself.

I wanted to start this post out with that clip mostly because I thought it was humorous. I thought of several of our politicians who could fit into those He-Man roles (who’s the lucky dog who gets to be Orco?) But, I will warn you that I'm attempting to go kinda deep with the subject. So, here goes.

The greatest source of power in this nation is the God in whom we trust. He has, divinely and mercifully, granted to us the power of freedom and unalienable rights. Our government only holds the power that we the people give to it. That's right the government is farther down the totem pole. But, it seems the government has forgotten that.

We need true principles of power restored to the government mindset. I'd like to speak of power in terms of how it is viewed and used, obtained and properly meted out. I like to simplify things and one way to do so is to look at the extremes.

Forgive me for going all religious here, but I've previously outed myself as a right wing religious nut-job so I'm not going to stress about it. Spiritually speaking the two extremes of power are the Savior Jesus Christ and of course the devil (I never capitalize him).

I'll speak of the latter first. Interestingly enough satan, the little turdbeast (he's one of the few individuals I have no problem insulting), has been given some power. God in His infinite wisdom knew that in order for us to learn and grow we would need opposition and trials. The devil, aka the serpent, aka loser jerk, was given power to bruise the heel of Adam and his posterity. We were given the power to bruise his head, the vomitous mass. The devil realizes that he is in actuality pretty weak. However, he uses his limited power to its farthest extent causing trouble, heartache, contention and in short misery. He is the tyrant of tyrants, the never merciful master, and I bet he smells really bad. He seeks power by trying to take it from us. He is a jealous spineless (literally because he can't even get a body, sucka!) moron whose whole purpose is to gain power, for he knows with full clarity just how insignificant and limited he is.

Contrast the devil with The Savior. The most powerful person ever to dwell on the earth was also its most humble, meek and service oriented. He, Divinity, descended below all men in living a mortal life and then sacrificing everything for the benefit of others, including His life. The only thing He ever took was our sins upon Himself. Other than that He was all about giving. He is ever powerful, and only uses that power to give us power, its called grace.

These extremes demonstrate an important aspect of power. For those who seek to be humble and to serve, power is a result which then can be used to further serve others. For those who seek power they realize how weak they are and thus have to spend all their time trying to get power in order to decrease the affect of their abject weakness. That is the case with all tyrants. They are daily reminded that they are weak and that their pretended power is frail, and can fail. As soon as there is one or more among their oppressed who realizes that their oppressor truly has limited power the oppressed can rise up. Tyrants fall.

Power is a result of humility. Those who look upon power with humility and use it to continue serving will find that it becomes limitless. But, caution must be observed. For, as soon as power is viewed as the goal, rather than as a byproduct benefit for good, it becomes a menace for its seeker.

There are a couple of subjects I'd like to address as sources of power, sacrifice and morality.

I remind you of the example of The Savior. He sacrificed everything for those He loved, that's all of us. We are asked by Him to also make sacrifices. Why? Because He wishes to endow us with power from on high. By sacrificing we become more like Him. Those who lose themselves in service truly find themselves. The more we love and serve others, the more our true selves are freed. I reiterate that those who seek power only realize they're weak. But, those who freely acknowledge they are weak in humility can put themselves humbly in a position to receive the blessings God is so willing to give. Sacrifice is a blessing given by God to connect us with Him.

Morality is a concept that I could go on and on about. It is in short about being our true selves and not being controlled by our base and mortal tendencies. I love the truth that we are not mortal beings who sometimes have spiritual experiences. Rather we are spiritual beings having a mortal experience. A moral person does not elevate themselves and their mortal tendencies over the needs of others. For instance, this is why it is immoral to pass debt onto our children which puts your desires above the welfare of others. If we can control our spending to only what we can afford we are being financially moral.

I view the commandments of God as codes for moral conduct that if observed actually are sources of freedom and power. Let's take the commandment to be sexually moral. I would challenge anyone to ask themselves how many social ills of the world would be solved by people resolving to keep just this one commandment. It's pretty darn powerful.

Like I said I could go on and on but I'll leave it at that. Sacrifice and morality are principles of humility which in turn are empowering.

So, now the question is 'What the heck does any of this have to do with politics/government?' Well, you can probably guess. I feel the government knows its power is only granted by the people. It knows its weakness and it is continually trying to seek more power. Government administrations even seem to couch these power grabs by appealing to our nature of service and our morality. I know that President Obama has called on us to make sacrifices. But, that is just not his place to do so. We should be asking that of him and all our government officials. 'Hey guys! Why don't you sacrifice some of your power, limit yourselves, and stop spending so much money that you don't even have.' They ask, sometimes demand, more power saying it’s for our own good, so that we can be taken care of. President Obama has stated that healthcare reform is a moral obligation. Excuse me, but you the government have no right to tell us what our moral obligation is, especially when so many of your actions are flat out immoral (see previous comments regarding debt). I refer you to the beginning of the post (including the He-Man video:). The government has no right or power but what we give it. They have no right to ask us for more.

The government should instead humbly limit itself. They should truly be serving. Our founders never envisioned a political class that would seek political positions in order to have power and money. Scratch that, they probably did envision that a government could become like that and set up checks and balances to prevent it. But, the Constitution has been under attack for a while (thank-you Progressives). If politicians were truly public servants they would limit power and money.

Remember how I was talking about that slimy piece of worm ridden filth satan? He has power to bruise our heel but we have power to bruise his head. The head is a heck of a lot more vulnerable than the heel. If we truly decided to enact that power the dude would finally be the wash up he truly is. Now, I by no means wish to trample the government or take up arms against the government. But, they need to know that causing repeated injuries, continuing to bruise us, though they may think they can control us, may instead just wake us up to our responsibility to keep our own government in check.

The greatest source of power in this nation is the God in whom we trust. He has, divinely and mercifully, granted to us the power of freedom and unalienable rights. Our government only holds the power that we the people give to it. That's right the government is farther down the totem pole. It is time they were reminded of that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Restoring Knowledge

I made the following video in order to address the media. It is a very rookie attempt, but I had fun giving it a go. Thanks to Devey who helped with the filming and for being my teleprompter. The best part about it is the band singing in the background. They started up right as we started filming. I had a hard time not cracking up, but oh well we got what we got. Enjoy :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Restoring the Left and the Right

Calling all classical Liberals! Can you hear me out there? Are there any classical Liberals left out there? Hello? Hello?!!! Yeah that's what I was afraid of. They are just too spread out to really get a clear message to them.

I have started trying to define myself politically. I will probably add more to it later. But, here it is for now: I am a Conservative Independent with some Libertarian leanings, a healthy respect for classical Liberalism, and considerably less respect for Progressivism/Progressive Liberalism. That is certainly a mouthful, or a keyboard full. But, it's the best I can come up with for now.

I’m going to cover a topic that I've covered before, but that I need to brush up on. The founding fathers understood the political spectrum in this way: The very furthest left is Tyranny. The very furthest right is Anarchy. It was their intention to establish a Constitution that was smack dab in the middle. They knew that they needed a limited but strong central government. That way the peoples divinely bestowed rights would be protected, and people would be free to pursue happiness while not interfering in the rights of anyone else. It was brilliantly done.

The founders understood that there would be times when changes to government would need to be made. So, they set that up within the very structure of the Constitution. Amendments could be made, though it was necessarily not an easy process. By doing this the founders assured that there would be a continual conversation politically both left and right leaning.

The left side was to be the problem-solving side. Those on this side were the classic Liberals. They would look at issues and see things that need change in order to better serve the people, and to hopefully increase freedom. The right side was the Conservative side. They would look at proposed changes and ask, 'will the change cost too much?' and 'will the change take away freedoms?' If the answer to either one of those questions is yes, than the change ought not to be made.

This is quite an ingenious set-up. Ingenious because it makes so much sense. Think about your own decision making. Effective decision making involves identifying a need, than asking yourself if it is necessary, will it truly make your life better, and will it cost too much.

I have titled my post 'Restoring the Left and the Right.' I did so because I feel that over time the left and right has all moved, left. The historical Conservative is no longer on the right of the political spectrum. At best Conservatives are hanging on with their fingernails to the center and the Constitution. And the idea of Classical Liberalism is all but faded into non-existance (though every once in a while I do catch shades of it).

Classical Liberalism has been replaced hook line and almost sinker by Progressivism. Progressivism is a lot less about making people free and a lot more about Government taking control and forcing people into a Utopian, thought free society. Yeah I really don't like Progressivism.

Side-note, it has dawned on me recently why Progressives are offended when we call them Socialists. It's because the modern Socialists, e.g. European Socialism, designed themselves after American Progressivism. They stole it from Americans, they just went about it more quickly than this country would allow. Anyway, I think they get all offended because European Socialism is just a copy cat and not the real thing. Progressivism sounds much more noble, and it is built on the idea of enlightened leaders, with superior intellects. But, it comes to the same thing. More and more government, less and less personal responsibility.

Anyway, in order to restore freedom we really need to reset the original left and right. Conservatives need to be more vocal. They need to take a stand so that the shift to the left is halted. Then will begin the long haul back to the center. And we really desperately need some intellectually honest and forthright classical Liberals. People who really believe that we need Liberation, which means freedom, which means less government.